Although I never read the book by Thomas Harris, I watched the movie Silence of the Lambs at least sixteen times, tugged by the mechanics of Hannibal Lecter’s mind and his unique bond with Agent Clarice Starling. There’s something alluring about madness—particularly the kind that shapes a serial killer responsible for the most horrendous murders. Blessed are the Dead also features a serial killer and a gutsy Italian reporter, Gabriella Giovanni, set on proving his guilt and getting her story. Like Silence of the Lambs, we get a first-row seat as kidnapper, Jack Dean Johnson, reels in Giovanni with his exploits as a serial killer. Her passion to solve her own dark past quickly turns passion into an unhealthy obsession that makes for captivating reading.
Blessed are the Dead is raw, and gritty and real. Belcamino captures the energy and anxious vibe of a newsroom with perfection. And her main character, Giovanni, is flawed like the rest of us—she’s jealous, insecure, and broken yet compassionate, hopeful, and fierce. Belcamino made no attempts to raise Giovanni above the pack of humanity and it’s absolutely refreshing to read about a regular person that hasn’t been airbrushed. There’s so much humanity in Blessed are the Dead—it oozes with our shortcomings and frailties in life and love, and the unstoppable passion that fuels our hearts, our heads and our bodies to move forward in the direction we are intended to move.